I've been a member of VT for a long time now and I really enjoy this community. I have met a few VTer's on my travels and have always had a great experience. Today, I just learned from another VTer that he spends more time on couchsurfing.com (a travel community site) these days. I checked it out and it seems interesting. The part of where you may host or stay with a host on your travels could make traveling more affordable for people. Just wondering how many others are participating on this site and if you like it?
i have been very tempted - i have seen an older guy, about my age, offering his small but charming bedroom for up to two people in a little village in italy i have never heard of the village before but he looks well cool and i thought - what an adventure
one would of course take him out to the local ristorante and shout him dinner - i am not so much interested in saving money - that comes into it - but meeting people and going to interesting places - staying with a local one would really get the feel of the place, the local stories etc
I've used hospitalityclub.org before and also other VTers have. I've heard about couchsurfing but have never bothered to join there as well. Last I heard was that there is a sign up fee of USD 25 but I don't know whether it's true since it used to be free.
I agree, it's not that I would have to save money but staying in a local town/village and eating the local cuisine would be a unique experience. When I had went to Italy last year, I so wanted to stay one evening at a farmhouse where everyone dines together, family style. I thought that would be a great experience but it didn't work out in our plans. When you watch Anthony Bourdain's show, sometimes his travels are so interesting because they eat from street vendors or at someone's mother's house. I think that is great!
i was kind of surprised that it was not just young people
I have thought about it too, but since i do not have a permanent place to stay then i can not really offer anything. And these days i am not really interested in staying at peoples houses. This would have been very interesting for me when i was younger and always on a very tight budget, but these days i prefer that i can close my door and walk around naked and fart as much as i like. From time to time it´s nice to stay with friends, but most of the time i like my hotel room. And couchsurfing is a very young website in general and i feel a bit like breaking in to a youth club by joining their meets. I actually have a female friend who signed off from the site cause she had a few too many men comingto stay with her expecting a fling with her while they were in town. One of them even tried to snog her before he had even said hello to her at the train station where she picked him up.
There have been a few brief mentions of this web site in our local newspaper over the past 5 years or so, but nothing really substantial.
So, I looked at this hospitalityclub.org and that is intriguing, too. You don't necessarily have to offer up accomodations in your home but you can offer other travel assistance (advice). In either case, I have to think one would have to be very cautious if you were to take a total stranger into your home or stay with a total stranger in their home, especially, in another country. If there is more scrutiny involved with the enrollment process, then maybe you could trust its members. Anyway, I find this an interesting proposition for people who want to travel but have limited funds to do it.
I have been to a couple of their gettogethers and they have been quite fun, but i never ended up staying in touch with any of the people i met there. I think the community is a little less tight nit, but mabye that is just me who is a jerk :)
couchmark - I'm curious about couchsurfing - but in the middle of getting dinner right now ...
I have been member for years & I usually host ppl in Macedonia during summer months. It is great way to meet new interesting ppl and also help you cut down expenses while traveling. Also Couch surfers have ambassador in every city and meet up at least once a month. The Aachen group (where I live now) is very active and fun. you should check them out!!
That's good to know, Valentina! Thanks!
I heard about it Grace but this is not for us . Not a bad thing me thinks good for many peeps but not for Lori & Hansi Hansi
With hospitalityclub which was founded by a German BTW, you can give sort of a review and this is very good. Also I like the idea that you don't have to host yourself. They also have meetings and once in Lithuania we joined a combined VT/hospitality club meeting which was great.
I've heard of couchsurfing over the years occasionally. Unfortunately a couple of occasions I had to deal with a member from there who had also joined VT and there were warnings about very unsavory things going on with 'stays'. As always caution is required when staying at someone's house....
I joined couchsurfing a year ago, just before my trip to Europe. You definitely have to be selective as far as who you contact and ask to stay with, or agree to host. I found that starting out with no friends or referrals on the site may have hindered me in the beginning. The25 someone mentioned is to become verified (once you pay, couchsurfing sends you a postcard with a code that you then type into your account). This proves that you are located where you claim to be. It will also be marked on your profile: Identity checked, location verified. You do not have to become verified, but this gives you more of a sense of security as a person hosting or surfing. I was selective as far as who I asked to host me. I chose people who I felt I would get along with, and would want to spend time with. I also chose those who offered an actual guest room with a real bed, or a sofa bed... I'm getting older, lol. Luckily, I have a lot of friends already in Germany who I stayed with, but I did couchsurf through the site in Goslar. The couple hosting were great. They picked me and my friend up from the train station and brought us back to their place for coffee. As I wanted to meet up with a friend in nearby Wernigerode, they drove us there and we all spent several hours there together. That evening back in Goslar, our hosts put on a BBQ for us in their back yard and invited a couple more friends. The next day we went into Goslar together. That evening we invited our hosts to dinner in town. For me it was a great first experience... I asked why they had decided to host me without any references, and they said because I didn't have a car... that made them feel safer and I guess I wrote them a nice request. :) I wrote to others on the site in Brugge, Dubrovnik, and Sarajevo but didn't have any luck - but I only wrote to a few people (being selective). I did have a nice meet-up in Dubrovnik though with several couchsurfers. From there, I went to Kotor, in Montenegro and a girl I had requested to surf with had family staying and couldn't host. She did find me a place to stay for20/night though - a nice little apartment... she really went out of her way to help me. We went out a couple of times for drinks and meals. She drove me down the coast a bit and up a dirt road to a beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea that I never would have found otherwise. So I had 3 really positive experiences... I think if you stick with those who are verified, or even with those who aren't (but they have all good reviews), you'd probably be ok.
Thank you, Ernst, for sharing your experiences. I do like the idea of what the community is trying to achieve. And, the experiences you had like seeing the Adriatic Sea from a certain vantage point and having dinner with locals are things I would like to experience while on travel. I wonder if this is something that could be incorporated into VT? I hardly have time to even participate here let alone join another travel community. I don't know that I would trust new members but old members with low rankings would not be a problem. It would add a new dimension to VT that may enhance participation.
Your welcome, Grace. :) I'm sure many VTer's have already "surfed" with and hosted others on VT. I hosted several friends from VT 2x when I lived in Santa Barbara. Last year, I "surfed" in Germany with one couple I had hosted. It's a little different from couchsurfing, as I had met all five VTer's previously in person... As was mentioned earlier in this thread, couchsurfing seems to have a lot more younger participants (college age to late 20's seems to be the majority) who are open to hosting and surfing. I'm not sure how many on VT would want to host or surf... or get requests to participate in that sort of arrangement.
Hi and Shalom: I have checked out couchsurfing and decided not to participate. The reason being that you do not know who you are allowing into your home. Here on VT you can get a feel for a person by their pages. WE DO belong to another international group called SERVAS, who do a "vetting" where the applicants to the program are checked out. Also when you contact a SERVAS memeber to ask if you can stay in their home you send your own SERVAS introduction letter which gives them some background on you. Next month for instance we are hosting a family of 4 from Canada who are visiting Israel. We have used SERVAS ourselves when we arrived at a place where we had no VT friends. Martin
I agree with Martin and whats already been said...we dont need couchsurfing.com as we have each other...you dont know those people and even mass murderers can stump up 25 dollars to get a list of potential murderees...cant they? I have a guest suite complete with double bed on a mezzanine level and sofa and chairs and dining table and chairs and can offer 2 extra fold up beds so up to 4 people can stay..it also has its own sink and cooking facilities and fridge...you do have to go downstairs to the toilet though...and share the family bathroom with us...but the door locks its ok..LOL...I can send pictures to anyone seeriously interested...and anyone interested should not be allergic to dogs or kids
Thanks, Kirsty, for your opinion and offering accomodations! I suppose if VT had a more formalized area where you can offer up accomodations or even accompany people to dinner, tourist sites, etc. it would be easier for those people who are seeking that. I don't know that I would offer my spare room to someone. It would depend on how well I might know them and how long of a visit it would be. I would definitely like have other VTer's over for dinner or take them out and about because they don't what to rent a car and if we had a segment on our profile that indicates that, I think that would be nice.
I probably wouldn't consider Couchsurfing - but am happy to offer my spare bed to VTers that I've met and liked. A VTer has offered me a bed later this year, when I'm staying in her city for a few days, which I'm grateful for, because she lives in a very expensive city! Cheers Sonja!!
What i realy like about vt is that most of us have quite extensive profiles so you can get a good idea of who the person is before you meet up with them in real life. I find that the people you meet in real life who have a blank profile are also those who tend to drift out of your life quite quickly. I really treasure the good friendships i have made over the years on vt. This is by far the best thing about this site.
Well said Claus. Martin
Like I told Sophia ...I am not a maniacal mass murderer...I promise!
I am not a maniacal mass murderer...I promise! Hmmm ...who whuld promise a thing like this (??)
ME!...me me meeeee
And I would think only a ¨maniacal mass murderer¨ would ever do that ...Uoohoo lol ;-)